Sunday, July 25, 2010

HOPE? yes Hope!

There have been many sermons that this little head has drown in, and some sermons simply confused me, yet others left me in tears for the HOPE I heard about but didn't know how to apply.

I have often heard this verse which supposed to promise Hope as the King James Version: "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"  It goes on to then further describe some complicated non-english stuff.

Many pastors in the current churches just skipped over the "God would make known" section and quote, "Christ in you, the hope of glory". And as well and good any of those sermons may have been, I was lacking the ability to find hope when my life seemed hopeless.

In the New Living Translation of the Bible I have found some help in understanding the text.

Colossians 1:27 "For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory."

WOW... So, IT WAS A SECRET!!! HAHAHAHAHA,  But the secret was in the verse all along.

Christ gives me the assurance of sharing in His glory. And WHAT are the benefits of this seems to be what the first portion of the verse declares, God wanted us to share the riches and glory of Christ. To clarify, my personal position and from what I read in other portions of the bible, this glory is not found in being on American Idol, or finding our bust cast in the local museum, but rather living victoriously.

So, when we temper this verse now with my new understanding, I find this Psalm so much more soothing.

Psalm 71:14

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

For those people who want to verify that Christ in fact lives in me, you can read the complete teaching in Galations 2 which explains how we die to our own spirit by our own free will and Christ comes to dwell with us.

My point was always that I never knew how to apply the illusive HOPE. Well, I am here to tell you that in hopeless situations I am not always remembering any bible verses. So, when I eventually turn to God in prayer I realize, I am meant to be hopeless when it comes to my own abilities, but when I acknowledge that I have eternal hope and the weapons of this world are temporary.  I tend to look beyond this moment.

I also find hope in looking at people who have lived far worse situations and hopelessness within the bible and found a way to see themselves as victors. Sure, we live in "different times" but do we really?? Corrupt government,  righteous dictators controlling people who believe the righteous approval gets them eternal salvation, murder on the streets, corrupt social systems burdened with steretypes, racism and distain for others, starving people across the globe, whole cities overwhelmed with sinful selfishness, and open disregard for wisdom within the courts: Yes, I would say, the times are much the same with "different" people, but very much the same.

I don't know how to explain the secret to unlocking this Hope within us, but the first step is to make sure you are right with God and that Christ does have room in your life. Have you moved out & let him have your life's direction? Well then, now you have to deal with trusting it. When He is in us, then we are no longer in our will, but his will. He is with you, God himself through the Holy Spirit is directing your path.

So, I take a deep breath, remind my brain (not part of the spirit) that it is not in control of my future, but that the Spirit of the Lord is walking this life with me. I am going to share in the sufferings of Christ, but I will also share in the Love, the Peace, the Security of knowing the grave is not the end. And really, someone - somewhere - has lived worse, yet, God comforted them. I MUST SHARE MY HOPE WITH OTHERS!!!! I need to wear this hope on my sleeve, and most importantly my FACE!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Laughter; The fruit of real life.

~Life Lessons: Family Laughter.~

I can’t say that I dwell in the past. A girl’s past can be ‘a many splendid thing’ or it can be a haunting nightmare. No one’s past is the same. No one family tree is perfect. No one story ever can be told with one or two short sitting spells over coffee. Life is always hard for any kid but when the kid buries part of them to keep skeletons in the basement, most children just learn to grow up and try to move on. Some of us manage to find peace in life. 

For me, I have written and talked about it enough to say, that I learned to deal with skeletons early in life. The first thing I learned was how much honesty will hurt the wrong person and let the person who wronged you get the upper hand. Or did I? I was honest as a j-bird anyway. I shot from the hip as a small child, never thinking about any consequence. Shining the light in the closet wasn’t the only way to feel comfortable, but when you’re a kid afraid of the dark ~ light helps!! It was NOT something I recommend, and I had a very shy uncomfortable side to me in contrast. 

My Grandma Kicklighter, I know God loved her, and gave her a knack for a way to cope: laughter. While I was just tattling on adults and telling everybody everyone else’s secrets…she laughed away the pain in her life. I grew up in the South. Well, I say that because most psychologists will tell you that a child learns most of its personality traits before they are 5 years old. I grew up in the heart of Southern Living well into Middle School life. My manners, or lack thereof, got me into enough trouble and my mouth got me into more than my little butt bargained for. The look on some of those jerks faces was all I needed to get me through to the next uncomfortable place, where ever it would find me in the future. (I was always certain of one thing in my little head and that was the fact that I wasn’t going to like some situation soon.) 

In a recent heart to heart chat with my mother, and yes, I called her mother when I was young too. Once I even asked her if she was the evil step-mother from Cinderella. See, how my honesty could get me into trouble. Anyway, in our recent chats I told her about my need to write down some of the most important lessons people like her have taught me. She was supportive and cautious as she too is familiar with my honest streak. You can say I think honest, like my dad which is a wise move to make. Honest thinkers look at the situation and don’t sugar coat it in their memories. Then you get to the part where I speak honest and most people would like to think they do, but no one does this like my mom. I learned a lot from my dad and I like to think more than I talk these days but either way you’ll get my honesty. 

Moms can’t always help their children become who God intends. I am learning that sometimes God gives us children we are unprepared to guide, so he gives us other people in our lives that help us guide our children. My mom always let my grandma guide me without much jealousy. We all laughed together a lot after I grew of age. My mother came to terms with my grandmother leading me, even if it meant I got pieces of my grandma no one else would ever hear. 

Laughter doesn’t have to be honest, or pure. Boy when it’s an honest gut wrenching laugh it fills the air and is what some call a contagious laughter. My grandmother’s legacy reenters this story here. She was a God-fearing woman and I loved her but she had a stream running through her veins that was deep pain and only laughter let her clean it out of her system. My mom sat on the front steps at her house the day she died and I knew it would take some time before I could make her laugh the way her mother could. My grandmother took the simplest of things in life and made them funny. She took practical jokes to church. I learned from her why Jesus must have been a fun to be around as a teen. 

When life is waiting for you to fail, and when there is always a burden waiting for you to carry it you can choose: – a life lived waiting to die under it’s weight – OR – a life lived within every moment in anticipation of something to smile about and something to loosen your muscles and the fastest way to release the pain is to laugh.
Laugh at it all. 

God answered my prayer. My Uncle Jack fell that dad right in front of us all ~ we checked to see if he was ok, and then with my Grandmothers blessing, we all let out a bellowed laugh… then we all cried.. then we laughed some more. My grandmother was the first person I saw laugh when someone got hurt. I wasn’t sure what to make of it when I was little but then, as I got older I learned more about slapstick comedy. As I matured and learned about some of our family skeletons, the burdens my grandmother bore and the children she raised because her mother slipped out at night and eventually didn’t return; that’s when I learned WHY she loved to laugh. 

My grandma never really lied, but often told stories about people with different names to protect the innocent. They were her stories, but the innocent was always us. She always wanted us to look at things “fresh” and “honest”. Most importantly, she wanted us to laugh. And laugh hard. Even if it was at your cousin who skinned their knee on the pavement…: No seriously, make sure they aren’t hurt, get help and then laugh! But she always laughed first.. then helped us up. P.S. Her feelings were hurt when she tripped and fell and no one laughed with her at the hilarity of it all. 

Here’s the real lesson: it wasn’t in the moment that made anything funny, it was all about learning how to tell the story!

She was alongside my dad one of the best storytellers of my life. She took the truth and stepped outside of it and told a story of the tale with accurate punch lines to make even the straightest face crack a smile.
So, when the pain of my life or the burden that tries to weigh me down peers around in the mirror; I can’t forget the lesson that deteriorates all life can throw at you ~ find anything you can and laugh. Laugh hard. Laugh till you cry. Let the laughter release the real pain, the real tears, the real fears and then gather yourself together – grab a hanky and laugh at your tears. * Preferably laugh with someone else.*

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